Tune Before the Concert Starts

#80- “Tune Before” As part of our commitment at OFC to be principle driven leaders, I have made a list of more than 80 principles that guide our actions and decisions.  Recently, Dr. Crawford Howe reminded me of this one from J. Hudson Taylor:

“Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.” (J. Hudson Taylor)

Regardless of what you lead, leaders are “on” from the time they open their eyes until they close them again. The phone rings and regardless of what time it is, you’re on.  It’s a long concert and a tough one because we never know for sure what music we’ll have to play next, or when the day’s concert will end.

Dr. Dan Boone helped me in this area a few years ago.  As a pastor I wear several hats.  I am a shepherd, guiding His flock through the mountains, valleys and meadows of life.  I am a military leader, leading God’s people to rescue and recover what the enemy has taken. I am a priest in that I am responsible for the care of His people.  Sometimes I feel a bit schizophrenic.  The shepherd in me says “Slow down, the sheep are tired.” The military leader says, “Tough, get over it, we have a battle to fight.” And the priest in me says, “Why are we talking about slowing down or fighting battles? We just need to pray.”  If you have encountered me on one of those days, I’m sorry.  Knowing which hat to wear and when to wear it is one of the differences between successful leaders and unsuccessful ones.  If you wear a baseball cap to play in a football game, you’re in trouble. On the other hand wearing a football helmet to a monopoly game sends an entirely different message.  (Although in my family, the football helmet is appropriate for any game.)

Recently, I had a meeting with a mentor where he reminded me of the importance of getting my head and heart right early in the day.  Yesterday’s events need to be filtered through today’s grace and time with God will do that.  Too often I have drifted into a day without proper preparation. If my heart is not in tune with the Father, how can I lead His people? How can I sing His song or play His music?

When an orchestra is in tune and together, there aren’t many sounds more beautiful.  When it isn’t, there aren’t many sounds worse.  Leaders are like that.  In tune, we do what God wired us to do, we lead.  Out of tune, we throw temper tantrums and whine a lot.  (Not you or me of course, but some leaders I know.)  The church is the same way.  In tune, we are God’s “Plan A” and we change the world. Out of tune, well…we are still God’s “Plan A” but we don’t change much of anything.

So, whether you’re leading a church, or a business, or a family, get in tune and let the music begin!